I guess you know that traditional truffles mainly consist of sweet chocolate and cream… a lot of cream. But vegans and raw vegans invented a healthier type of truffle already some time ago… yes, you can make truffles without the cream and the sugar. And I find they are a truly interesting kind of sweet, even though I’m neither vegan nor raw vegan. You’ve got to absorb any knowledge potentially good for you. Empty your mind, like Bruce Lee used to teach… Strip yourselves of prejudices like you peel the paper off a cupcake… To lend body and softness to the truffles, avocado or dates are used instead. Dates have been used in these truffles, to give them sweetness and tenderness.
The concept is adapted from this gorgeous vegetarian blog. I’ve substituted dry for fresh dates, cocoa butter for part of the coconut oil and ras el hanout for the hot chili (is this getting close to an addiction? No, why?). Sure curry powder would work too… I thought about adding hot pimentón, but I didn’t dare. I’ve recently stumbled upon some spicy bonbons (they seem to be fashionable right now) and I really liked them. After all, Mesoamericans used to have their hot chocolate with chili. But you can skip the ras el hanout if you don’t like spicy chocolate (prejudiced!). Being that these sweets aren’t cooked in any way, the ingredients should all be premium quality, organic when possible. Okay, I’m a bit of a purist…
Date, coconut and spice truffles
Yields 30 small truffles
- 20 organic dried dates
- 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
- 1 tbsp organic cocoa butter
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa (better if organic)
- 30g shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp cinammon
- The content of half a vanilla pod, scraped
- 1/2 tsp ras el hanout
And you were wondering… is it really a good idea to leave the cream out and use coconut oil instead? Well, apparently coconut oil, after being considered a very harmful saturated fat for years (coming from the wrong belief that ALL saturated fats were harmful, especially promoted in the 60’s by large producers of poliinsaturated vegetable fats… what a coincidence), is changing its reputation due to recent scientific research.
- Soak the dates in water for a while if they’re too dry. Melt the coconut oil and the cocoa butter in a double boiler or bain-marie. Put the oils in a blender or processor with the drained dates and process till almost smooth. Don’t expect the dates to disintegrate completely, some chunky bits will remain.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the date mixture and process again, till a more or less homogeneous paste forms.
- Flatten the paste on a plate and refrigerate until the oils are solid again, around half an hour.
- When the paste is cool, use a teaspoon to break down little pieces and shape them into balls, rolling them between your palms (you can make them larger if you want).
- When they’re all shaped, coat them either in more shredded coconut or in cocoa. To do this, put a couple tablespoons coconut or cocoa in a plate, place the truffles on it and move the plate for the truffles to roll and coat.
These truffles keep well in the fridge, but, as any traditional truffle, they are best if left to temper for a while before eating. The flavor of ras el hanout was hardly noticeable in the batch I made, I guess the cocoa flavor is too strong to offset, but a slight heat revealed at the end of each bite… Next time I will add more heat… yummy. And by the way, if you want to see the face of your less adventurous guests when they bite into one of these truffles, let them believe these are regular ones… it’s your chance to have a good laugh.